Tip Sheet: New genetic risk factors identified for colorectal cancer, new challenge trial on a tuberculosis vaccine — and 2022 news highlights

SEATTLE — Jan. 6, 2023 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center research findings and other news.

Interested in news you may have missed in 2022 from Fred Hutch? Check out our year in review for news highlights.

Cancer research

Large-scale study led by Fred Hutch finds new genetic risk factors for colorectal cancer, paving the way for better screening, prevention
A comprehensive analysis of more than 100,000 colorectal cancer cases, led by researchers at the Fred Hutch, including Dr. Ulrike Peters, with 200 scientific collaborators worldwide, has identified more than 100 new genetic risk factors strongly linked with the disease. These findings published in Nature Genetics could help clinicians better determine who’s at highest risk for colorectal cancer so they can receive early screening.
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

What’s new in breast cancer research? SABCS 2022 delivers plenty
Scientists from Fred Hutch shared new findings at the 45th annual meeting of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Findings included data on new imaging tracers, analysis of treatment-related side effects like neuropathy and identifying gaps in metastatic cancer care. The meeting also highlighted efforts by patient advocates to address health disparities and gaps in research, such as in lobular breast cancer.
Media contact: Heather Platisha, hplatisha@fredhutch.org

Tracking prostate cancer dynamics
New work published in eLife gives scientists a detailed look at individual cells as prostate cancer develops and turns treatment-resistant in mouse models of the disease. The project, led by Dr. Andrew Hsieh, aims to better understand the molecular underpinnings of cancer progression and resistance to androgen-deprivation therapy. 
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Infectious disease

Could a 100-year-old TB vaccine help scientists find a better one?
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is a vaccine made of living bacteria to prevent tuberculosis (TB) and the most widely used vaccine on the planet. Led by Dr. Jim Kublin, researchers at Fred Hutch have begun a new 10-person challenge trial that will study how immune systems respond to BCG and to isoniazid, a drug used to treat TB. 
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Awards and other news

Eight Fred Hutch teams win Evergreen Fund awards
Eight research teams at Fred Hutch will receive in-house grants this year from the Evergreen Fund, a unique program to boost scientific projects deemed promising enough in their early stages to attract potential commercial partners later on. Research includes continued work on developing laboratory-designed antibodies, a monoclonal antibody drug to block necrosis and many others.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Leader in apheresis and cellular therapy, Dr. Michael Linenberger, retires
Dr. Michael Linenberger, a professor in the Clinical Research Division and holder of the Robert and Phyllis Henigson Endowed Chair, retired after working in the Fred Hutch clinic, formerly Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, since it opened in 2001. Linenberger has played a major role in the development of evidence-based guidelines and best practices for the safe, efficient and effective use of apheresis in the clinic.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

A giant in BMT survivorship retires
Dr. Mary Flowers, longtime medical director of Fred Hutch’s Long-Term Follow-Up program, a comprehensive survivorship program for blood and marrow transplant recipients, is retiring from Fred Hutch. When Flowers began working at the LTFU program, the clinic saw five patients a week. That number has increased more than six-fold since then, now tracking 6,500 patients post-transplant, including a 47-year survivor.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Science spotlight
Science Spotlight is a monthly installment of articles written by postdoctoral fellows at Fred Hutch that summarize new research papers from Hutch scientists. If you’re interested in learning more or covering these topics, contact: media@fredhutch.org

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center unites comprehensive care and advanced research to provide the latest cancer treatment options and accelerate discoveries that prevent, treat and defeat cancer and infectious diseases worldwide.

Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is an independent, nonprofit organization and the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington. We have earned a global reputation for our track record of discoveries in cancer, infectious disease and basic research, including important advances in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services and has network affiliations with hospitals in four states. Fred Hutch also serves as UW Medicine’s cancer program.

Please note that our organization was renamed Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in April 2022, following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.